The Sunday Newds 10/12/08

  • A little too much wine helped a group of tradesmen decide to go nude for a fundraising calendar.
  • An interview with a Raelian guide reveals plans for "an enormous topless event" next year.
  • A Catholic writer equates nudity with the fall of civilization. I'm all in favor of a serious discussion on nudity and shame, but when the foundation of an argument rests upon the Adam and Eve fairy tale, it's hard to rebut fiction.
  • A girl is shocked to discover that her friend is a naturist.
    It’s one thing to get together with a group of like-minded people who want to change the world, or learn Spanish, or gossip about Brangelina. But naturists are united by nothing more than the fact that they have bodies. Once they’ve gotten nekkid and walked about a bit, what else is there to do? You’re not even supposed to be judging anyone’s looks.
  • A mother discovers that her 16 year-old daughter is sending nude photos of herself to a classmate, and seeks advice from a parenting expert.
    For all you know, this is something all the girls are doing. That doesn't mean it's OK. (If that's the case, it's something you need to brainstorm with other parents about it.) But you need need a way into her thinking and you are more likely to get that with genuine concern and interest than with angry, punitive responses.
  • A New York Times fashion writer notes that seeing naked people is just part of his job.
  • The curator of an art exhibit called "Naked" has refused to close down the show in light of some complaints, and has been backed up by the museum's trustees.
  • A writer argues that our current definition of "beauty" needs a lot of work.
  • Britney Spears gets naked in her new video "Womanizer".
  • The Kaiser Chiefs don't appreciate it when members of their audience get naked.
  • Artist John McKaig is asked about the pros and cons of being a nudist.
    Americans seem to have a particular problem in this area. We seem to be ashamed of, and at the same time, intensively interested in the human body and sexuality. It’s this strange combination of Victorian era mentality coupled with daily use of internet porn.

    The problem with porn, I think, is that it “de-contextualizes” the human body. It over-emphasizes one aspect of the human body, and does so in way that even doesn’t require nudity, but implies that it is. It also turns something that is inherently beautiful and wholesome (sex) and turns it into something that is forbidden and sleazy.

    There are, as you may know, many areas of the world that do not have this contradictory attitude towards the human body, and consequently these other countries don’t have the problems that Americans have with body/self esteem issues (especially in girls or young women), and don’t have the same problem with sexual crimes and disjointed attitudes (mostly by men) concerning what is proper behavior in a sexual relationship, etc.

    I also think that this relates to the many men’s extreme homophobia – They have this reinforced, disjointed view of what is expected of their role in a sexual context, and of what the body is “used” for, that when they are confronted with someone who does not fit this stereotype, they overreact.

    The overemphasis on hiding the body has, in many ways, resulted in more problems related to people’s attitude towards the body. If it was a matter-of-fact situation to see someone nude in a park or a beach or at home, than the depiction of the human body wouldn’t be “used” in ways that de-contextualize the actual beauty and wholesomeness of the body.